Monitoring COVID-19 impacts on pastoralism in West Africa

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Focus Region:
Sub-Saharan Africa
Focus Topic:
Climate / Weather / Environment
Land / Water / Resource Management
Information Technologies
Knowledge Management
Market / Trade

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the movement and livelihoods of pastoralists across West Africa, many of whom essentially live on the move. A new online tool is helping monitor these effects.


Tens of millions of pastoralists in West Africa seasonally migrate in search of pasture and water for their livestock. But now these herders whose livelihoods essentially depend on moving have to cope with new challenges arisen from the COVID-19 crisis.

The pandemic is forcing movement reduction and affecting livestock trade and incomes in the region. Transhumant pastoralists are significantly exposed to these effects.

To monitor them, the pastoralists network Réseau Billital Maroobè (RBM) and the international NGO Action Against Hunger have recently launched an online platform with updated information from the ground. The Pastoral Monitoring-COVID-19 provides key data on the situation that pastoralists are facing in West Africa, but also on the COVID-19 response measures.

Funded by USAID and the European Union, the tool is based on a network of currently 340 pastoralists focal points within RBM membership in the following countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Togo, and Nigeria.

The platform, which is available in both French and English, allows users to have a global overview of the region or to select a specific country to see additional data on trends of prices of key products. It includes information such as the opening of main markets, the stop of economic activities, tensions at water points, and the increase in animal sales.

The RBM feeds update data on a weekly basis and is producing a monthly newsletter (see first edition HERE) to consolidate the main issues faced by pastoralists, main support received in regions, and key recommendations. It will be used by RBM in policy dialogue instances.

Fanny Grandval (IFAD) and Blama Jallo (RBM)
©PARM/Carlos Acosta